Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Social Networking and the Writer

Let's all face networking has become HUGE! But with each person, the reason for using social media and how it's used, varies drastically.
There is the 'Magic' social media guy; you know him or her well. They breeze in every few months, type out a line or two, download a hideous photo then, like magic, they are gone just as quickly as they appeared. There are the 'Trendy' social media folks who jump on the bandwagon in short violent bursts, usually when some star makes mention of a site or one of the sites hits the headlines. Then there are the 'Denial' networkers who limit themselves to social media 'only on weekends' or 'only late at night if I'm having trouble sleeping'. There are people who use social media to find lost family, old friends, love, money and fame. Some people even go as far as to create an alternate existence chock full of farm lands, big cities, fake friends, fake pets and alter egos. So, which one are you?
I began testing the social media waters as a means of creating a foundation to introduce myself to the world as a writer. Soon my co-writer & I began to accumulated more and more friends. We then decided to branch out a bit, at first delving into book reviews and author interviews. Today, one year later, we have a review site, web site, multiple Twitter accounts and even a fanpage on Facebook.
So what has been the up side of social networking for me as a writer? Simple... not only have I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people but I have had the chance to really know them as friends and colleagues. We met our agent on Twitter, and several authors were already friends of ours before signing with our literary agency, Tribe Lit. A lot of well known authors have graciously agreed to interview with WebbWeaver because of the rapport we already had with them through social media sites. There are wonderful writer's groups and discussion forums available through social media and a host of advertising possibilities. You can even blog about or showcase your writing on social networking sites. Publishers, editors and agents all can be found on these sites and if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you can get the opportunity to not only know these folks, but be welcomed into their circle of friends. Now all this may sound great but there is also a down side to social networking.
If you are planning to use these sites to get your name out there, then there are a few things you should try to remember. Social networking means you have to be 'social', even if you aren't normally. It also means that you would do well to be diplomatic in your wording at times when you would like to be rude. You will have to deal with people that you don't necessarily like but who offer up incite or knowledge into the writing world, that is crucial and necessary for your growth as a writer. There will be spammers who will, no doubt, drive you insane by posting penis enlargement advertisements on your blog, Facebook wall or website. You will most assuredly get a first hand look at back-stabbing and cut-throating which is sadly, a part of life as well as the writing industry. On days when you want to string together a series of obscenities so intricately woven that they could fill the hole in the ozone layer, you can't or rather you shouldn't, because now you never know who may be watching or reading your posts!
And the biggest drawback to this social networking conundrum... it is time consuming. Everyday I say my good morning's to a rather large group of individuals, I post on the fan page or write a review or blog post. These things can take you away from the task at hand... writing your novel. In the time it took me to plan & write this blog post, I could have easily written a couple thousand words on a manuscript. In the time it took you to follow the link from Twitter, Facebook or wherever, and then read this post...You could have done the same.


  1. Some while ago, I met my former literary agent, Monique Raphel High, at a "power lunch" in Beverly Hills. She brought along a PR specialist for our consideration in enhancing my image and salability.

    We shot around a lot of bull, sure, and we all conspired what I could do to network and get people to remember my name. However, the PR specialist was sober when it came to my public image:

    "Michael, we can't do anything until you get a book deal."

    So, while I have my current agent shopping my novels around, looking for the ever-elusive book deal, I have not only engaged in Twittering and FaceBooking and blogging, but I also hit the markets hard with shorter works. I have been successful getting several published.

    So, one of the key factors for a writer to build a platform is to steadily build up publishing credits, even while the first book contract has yet to come. Only then will your fame skyrocket.

  2. Yes,time is one big concern with respect to social networking. Never enough to get everything done to begin with.

  3. It's a job to blog, facebook, tweet, isn't it? Yep, it's time consuming for sure. But I love it. It's so much fun interacting with with everyone, meeting people, and networking.

    But, you're right about the time issue. If you're not careful, writing will take a sidestep for sure.

    Good points here. Thanks for this!

  4. You summed what I was doing on FB in a nut shell.Excuse the cliche but it' true.. I'm aspiring writer just trying to meet that special someone who will take a chance with one of my novels... Thanks